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African thinkers and the global security agenda

Makinda, S.M. (2006) African thinkers and the global security agenda. In: Mwagiru, M. and Oculli, O., (eds.) Rethinking Global Security: An African Perspective? Heinrich Boll Foundation, Nairobi, pp. 21-27.

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The aim in this chapter is to explore how African intellectuals or thinkers might contribute to the setting of the global security agenda. The essay is not about a distinctive African view of security as opposed to the views of other peoples. It is, to a large extent, about the politics of defining, popularising and promoting a particular type of knowledge, namely, a perspective of security, at the global level. Those who set the global security agenda include politicians, national and international civil servants, academics (mainly Westerners), journalists and civil society leaders, among others. In doing so, they often consider a number of variables, including, but not limited to, the following: current and projected global security threats; the physical, financial and human resources with which to address specific threats; and the language, idioms and paradigms within which the security threats and the means to address them are debated and formulated. Africa is clearly disadvantaged when it comes to these variables. Due to Africa’s precarious financial, scientific and technological base, it does not have the capacity to monitor effectively the current global security problems and make reliable predictions about future threats. In terms of natural resources, Africa is enormously rich; but it lacks the science and technology needed to turn these resources into useable items or sources of global influence. As a result, Africans would find it hard to determine the objects and subjects of security and prescribe the means that are needed to address them.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Heinrich Boll Foundation
Copyright: © 2006 Heinrich Böll Foundation
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